Guest Post: Where Books Meet Boats

Editor’s note: This post was written by Kim Couranz, my incredible friend and teammate, as we took a break between Snipe regattas.

I’m lucky not only to have some great friends who are also terrific sailors, but a super-duper hubby who understands that sometimes I need to go on vacation without him to go sailing with those aforementioned great sailing friends.

kim_carolWhen I’m really lucky, those aforementioned sailing friends don’t mind if I use some of my vacation time to head to bed early with a good book. It’s pretty decadent to ease in between the sheets without second thought of “did I move the laundry into the dryer”; “I need to remember to get in touch with the folks at the other office to make sure we’re on track on that important project”; or “must remember to get more food for the dog who depends on me.”
And I’ll admit that cozying up with a good book is somehow even a little more indulgent after a day of dinghy racing, when I’m usually a little body tired and mind numb. So that all I can focus on are the words on the page.

I’ve had a few serendipitous book choices follow me to regattas—often location or theme has intertwined with my regatta/sailing experience. Two years ago, at the same regatta in Clearwater, Florida, from which I’m writing this post, I dove into Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. What a forceful book about a strong woman—even if she doesn’t always believe she is. The novel, published in 1937, takes place in early 20th century central and southern Florida, and tells the tale of Janie and the very different parts of her life as she is married to three very different men. But though parts of Janie evolve over her life, one thing remains steady—she believes in love and wants that to be the foundation of her marriages. Janie’s strength as she handles what is dealt her is astounding.

Much of Janie’s story is set in the Florida Everglades, and includes a riveting account of Janie and her third husband Tea Cake’s experiences in the Okechobee hurricane. To head to our next regatta in Miami, we towed the Snipe down I-75 through the Everglades. It was a challenge to look past the chain link fence cordoning the River of Grass off from the cars and trucks whizzing by, but it definitely made the trip fly by to imagine Janie and Tea Cake trying to make ends meet in that neck of the woods (or rather, subtropical wetlands).

Today we sailed three races out on the Gulf of Mexico, and the breeze increased steadily through the day. My mind is fried, and body a tad tired, so I’m off to bed now with a good book. Perhaps I’ll find a character, location, or theme that will resonate with my sailing, traveling, and camaraderie experiences this week. My guess is that I will.